School supplies aren't the only things college freshman need

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - After spending money on back to school necessities, you might think your college freshman has everything needed to start school, but if you haven't talked to them about money management they may not be fully prepared.

"As soon as they leave the house, if they do not know how to handle their finances and they have credit cards--they think that's free cash," said financial specialist, Susan Campbell.

She says costly cash mistakes made in college can follow students long after leaving the classroom.

"If they have bad credit when they graduate it can really affect their chances of getting a good job because that's something employers really look at these days," said Campbell.

Campbell says teaching budgets and limits are a must.  It teaches kids how much is coming in, so they understand how much can go out.  She adds credit card debt can be disastrous.

"As parents, it is our job to make sure they know how to pay their bills," said Campbell.

"Many of these students have not had to worry about what things cost," said Lynita Cooksey.

ASU's Lynita Cooksey in Academic Services says regardless of a students financial situation all students and their parents get information about budgets and money management.

"Budget and financing becomes probably the most frequently asked questions even more so than academics by parents when their sending students to school," said Cooksey.

Financial experts say setting budgets are essential in the first steps of teaching money management.  Other things students need to know include how to determine needs versus wants and to set some money aside for savings--even if it's just 5 or 10 dollars a month.

"If you do not teach your children how to budget money, that's when they're going to run into all sorts of problems," said Cooksey.

Campbell says getting a credit card can of course help you establish a credit score that will be referenced when buying a car or house.  She says if a student has a credit card, make sure the limit is low, with a low Apr and something that can be paid off every month.  She even suggests sitting down with teens and showing them how to balance a check book and show them how much the family spends and takes in every month.

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